The streets in Canada are much cleaner than most of the cities in Russia, but the architecture is definitely a lot more boring. As a complete couch-surfing bum, I've been bouncing around from sofa to sofa, mostly with my family, while I await a new visa to Russia, and so life has been fairly boring.
With a plague of boredom, dwindling reserves of cash and clean streets, I decided to wander aimlessly around Ottawa for old time's sake.
First I went up Bank St. to Parliament Hill, a good starting point for any Ottawa excursion, and then wound over the Rideau Canal to the Byward Market where, I was hoping, a good pub with Alberta beef burgers and pints of draught would await me. Alas, most of the pubs in the Byward Market have closed down save for a couple of bigger ones. Part of a new "Alcohol-free zoning" initiative undertaken by city hall with the help of concerned citizen's groups. Nevertheless I found one decent-looking pub and stopped in to enjoy a burger and a pint of over-priced Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale.
The pub was filled with people, most of them wearing business-casual and most of them middle-aged yuppy baby boomers. I couldn't help listening in on their conversations, alone as I was, and that's when something profound occured to me. I hate my own people!
One woman was regaling her table of colleagues about her friend or sister or somebody. "Her therapist told her to take herbal sleeping pills and she got a week off work. Hitting that cat on the side of the road was very traumatizing for her." All the fat old woman high on themselves nodded in agreement. "Oh yes. Yes."
Another table consisted of two guys, one of whom, at least, was Quebecois, as well as two women. The French guy had closely-cropped greying hair and tiny round spectacles. Under his polo shirt he couldn't have weighed more than 160 lbs. He was spewing out a story, in very accented English, about the evils of eating meat. "Ourr boday's cannot deegist eet und wee prodoose carbones as a reesult, soo it iz bad four de environemant" His compatriots nodded in sheep-like agreement.
Disgusted with people, I quickly chugged back the last quarter pint of beer and asked the girl for my cheque. After paying I left the pub and walked outside, where I lit a cigarette. Immediately, before I had even finished putting my lighter back in my pocket, another middle-aged woman was in my face. "You can't smoke within five metres of a door, mister!" she barked at me. "Oh, sorry." I replied, and took a few steps away from the door (I think in feet, not metres, so wasn't really sure how far that was supposed to be). "What are you going to do? Flick your cigarette on the ground?!?" She snarled. She was flushed red with anger at my smoking.
I stood silently for a few moments, staring in utter amazement at this slug-like creature. Then, without saying a word but never breaking my hard stare, I lazily took a drag off my cigarette.
I can't help it, but being back in Canada, with all these vegetable-eating non-smoking better-than-thou idiots around has made me extremely reactionary. My sister and her fiance made burgers the other night and offered me one. I was starving and my mouth watered at the mention of the word "burger" so I leapt at the chance but, with a sinking heart, I was informed that they were veggie-burgers. One of their friends, who was visiting, doesn't eat anything that has touched meat.
"Oh, sorry." I told them. "I don't eat anything that has touched vegetables."
If we're not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat? And since when did anybody have the right to stick their nose in other people's faces and preach to them about what they can and can't do? If some yuppy preaches to people about the ills of smoking, or the ills of eating meat, or the ills of oggling women, or anything else, how do they know that they won't get stabbed in the eye? Really it's a sense of sudden, furious pain that kept people in line, but in our modern society that fear is gone and people are beginning to behave like mindless animals, despite believing themselves to be progressive enlightened thinkers.
With a huff my fat ugly yuppy assailant waddled away like an overweight penguin, and I stayed in that spot and smoked my cigarette. Then I flicked the butt on the ground. Out of principle.